Mercedes is to improve its Night View Assist system by adding a feature that will spotlight a potential danger in the drivers immediate field of vision.
The Active Night View Assist system, which has been available since 2009, already highlights and displays pedestrians in the road to drivers using a screen on the dashboard. However, the new system will go one step further by flashing a spotlight on the pedestrian, warning not only the driver, but also the pedestrian, of the potential danger.
The spotlight function operates only at speeds above 28mph and is activated when the driver turns on Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Using infrared technology to detect pedestrians within 80 metres of the car, if the central control system decides a pedestrian is in danger, it shines a spotlight on them.
Outside built-up areas, pedestrians are flashed up to four times, if they are within the headlight beam. When the headlights are dipped, the pedestrian is flashed beyond the area of the dipped beam.
However, when high beam is activated, this remains on in the drivers side headlamp, while the pedestrian is flashed with the other headlamp. The flashing headlamp then remains dipped for five seconds in order to avoid dazzling the pedestrian during this time.
However, as a further safety feature, the spotlight will not be flashed if there are other cars in front or travelling in the opposite direction near the pedestrian.
The new spotlight function is geared towards how accidents actually occur, says Dr Thomas Weber of Mercedes.
The aim of this development was to prevent the particularly serious consequences of collisions with pedestrians at night. With this concept, a Mercedes-Benz fitted with the spotlight function not only protects its occupants, but also makes a significant contribution towards enhancing safety for other road users.
Mercedes is yet to confirm which model will benefit from the new system, but says that it will be incorporated as standard within the Active Night View Assist Plus system on a luxury model from summer 2011.